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IBG: And on to Air Force

Oct 7, 2011, 1:26 AM EDT

South Florida v Notre Dame Getty Images

We’re back with another edition of the Irish Blogger Gathering. If you’ve missed the last few, you’ve missed me comparing the Irish quarterbacking depth chart to TV’s leading ladies, Little Mac’s journey to beat Iron Mike, and other answers to questions that I’ve retro-fit to keep this blog family friendly and  my job safe.

This week’s questions are presented by the godfather of the IBG, the Subway Domer himself. I’ll do my best not to step in any bear-traps he’s left for me, and get us ready for the pregame six pack, coming sometime in the wee hours of the morning.

Alright, let’s get to the questions:

1. So, uh, the defense has looked pretty good. Give me a stat that most exemplifies what this defense is all about. Are we really as good as we think, or are we inflating the results?

Wait — I feel like I’ve done this multiple times. (Here and here.) The Irish running defense is good. Just ask Troy Calhoun.

““They are exceptional,” Calhoun said earlier this week. “Nobody’s been able to run the ball on them. Flat out, have not.”

Here’s the think with this Irish defense. It isn’t set up to dominate statistically, but rather to win games. When defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was asked about trying to generate more turnovers, he hinted at the fact that this defense was good enough not to need to engineer results.

“It seems like it should be the case every week, ‘Get turnovers, get turnovers’. Well, yes and no,” Diaco said. “There’s a particular style of calls that create more turnovers, and whether that will be functional to the team winning or not, you have to see. There is definitely a style of play that is more disruptive, but it could also end up being feast or famine.”

If you’re looking for something that exemplifies how good this Irish defense is, just consider that two years after Jon Tenuta thought he needed to bring blitz pressure on practically every down to keep the defense from imploding, the coaching staff thinks they’ve got a system and personnel good enough to not risk things by even bringing blitzes.

2. What concerns you the most about Air Force? How will ND be able to ease your fear?

The Falcons’ offense. While I just got done praising Diaco for his ability to stay committed to the foundation of the defense, the commitment to reading and reacting against Air Force could spell doom — Navy style, 2010.

Tim Jefferson and the Air Force offense is incredibly multiple. And Calhoun is a pretty incredible coach for Air Force to have on the sidelines. This guy was an NFL offensive coordinator, coming up under Mike Shanahan in Denver and then coordinating Gary Kubiak‘s offense in Houston. That’s pretty impressive.

As for easing my fear? Well — I’ll be just fine if I see the Irish defensive front dominating Air Force’s offensive line, blowing up the inside option game and forcing the Falcons to work the pitch and throw the ball. As for regular Irish fans? I don’t think there’s any ability to ease their fears. It’ll be white-knuckled panic until the final whistle, and once that happens, most likely a lot of complaints that it wasn’t a truly dominant victory.

3. You’re the long snapper. You get into a bit of a fracas on the field and break your hand… just how dumb are you feeling right now?

Like 2+2=5 dumb.

There is really nothing quite like getting dressed down by a coach for doing something stupid and undisciplined. I can vividly remember all the high-decibel lectures all the way back to grade school and through college and your tail stays pretty firmly tucked between your legs for a few days.

If Cowart isn’t able to snap because he decided to throw a right hook into a football helmet, well — he’ll be feeling pretty low for quite some time.

4. FYI: Tommy Rees will have 2 more years of eligibility after this year. How is Notre Dame’s QB situation going to shake out over the next couple of years?

I guess this is the million dollar question. Is Rees Matt LoVecchio or… well — that’s really the question. Assuming Rees continues to get better and start for the next two years, it could be Rees sitting at the top of Notre Dame’s passing records.  something that reminds me of the fact that Autry Denson is sitting atop Notre Dame’s rushing record books.

I’m not fully comfortable making assumptions, but you’ve got to think that Dayne Crist might choose to explore other options after this season. That’ll leave Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson to battle with Rees (and potentially Luke Massa), and that three-way race would almost have to favor Rees if he continues to handle his business throughout the second half of the season.

Good question and an admittedly bad answer. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

5. Subway Domer has always championed a “People’s Champion” if you will. This year, however, I just couldn’t make the call before the season began. We dig great hair, tattoos, and at least some playing time.  Who would you name as the Subway Domer People’s Champ? Keep in mind, at no point in time were guys like Te’o or Floyd eligible and that should help guide you.

I’m not sure that I completely understand the question, but that’s never stopped me before. People’s champion? I’ll throw out some nominees:

Jonas Gray, RB — It’s not a coincidence that after Gray dominated Screech in stand-up comedy, his confidence and running game exploded.

Trevor Robinson, RG — He’s quoted Billy Madison in an official UND.com video. Even though he said Entourage was his favorite TV show, he’s still a People’s Champ candidate for dropping a “Business Ethics” line.

Robert Blanton, CB — After waiting his turn to start, Blanton has brought some serious swagger to the field corner position. He’s a talker on the field and keeps it clean off. My kind of guy.

I’ll let you choose from there.

6. OK, talk to me about Saturday. Give me:

  • 2 reasons we lose — Turnovers and Special Teams.
  • 2 reasons we win — Better Talent and Air Force’s defense.
  • Any prediction you might have for the game — They will serve hot dogs in the press box.

7. I love hardware. There is no hardware on sale this week… bummer. Give me your thoughts on Notre Dame’s “rivalry trophy” situation, and would you change anything about it?

When the players don’t even known about some of the rivalry trophies, I think we’ve already said enough about their importance.

I’m a huge fan of rivalry games — and trophies like the Little Brown Jug, Floyd of Rosedale, and Paul Bunyon’s Axe are just awesome. (Can you tell I’m from Minnesota?) But maybe it’s because Notre Dame plays for shillelaghs, that it’s tough to get too excited about it.

But really, it’s Notre Dame. You really don’t need trophies to get up for that game. So what would I change? I’m not sure anything, but I agree with what I think you’re asking — there’s a way to probably do more with them.

BONUS: If the 4 Notre Dame scholarship quarterbacks could be quantified as a present or former country in the world; who they be?

I think my head is going to explode trying to even consider this question. If anybody here wants to take a stab at it, do so in the comments.

 

  1. cc2x4bills - Oct 7, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Go Irish –

    I’m going to take a stab at the country question:

    Dayne Crist – Late stages ancient Greece. He’s got all the tools on paper – so did they, philosophy, art, architecture, government, but couldn’t put it all together to remain a power.

    Everett Golson – Turn of the 20th century America – full of potential about to be a dominant world force (hopefully after a redshirt season).

    Tommy Rees – The British Empire in the colonial era – an unlikely story of how a little Island of the coast of Europe became the most powerful international empire with only the third best navy on paper.

    Andrew Hendrix – Atlantis – Supposedly a beautiful gilded city. Its unlikely we’ll ever get to see it / him in an Irish uniform.

  2. lpageb - Oct 7, 2011 at 3:11 AM

    Re: The QB/Country question

    Tommy Rees – Canada: Nothing flashy or amazing, but if we didn’t have them, we’d be very sad for at least a year or two.

    Dayne Crist – China: Big, lots of potential, but crippled in multiple ways. We might be reading headlines about their success in the future, or we might just be feeling bad for them.

    Everett Golson: – Brazil: Looks great, a potential major power in the future, that’s all I know really about them.

    Andrew Hendrix – Greece: They’re still around? Well that’s comforting.

  3. bernhtp - Oct 7, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Crist: Great Britain. Used to be the biggest/baddest empire – totally ran the world – but has since faded and deferred to the new kid on the block.

    Rees: USA. Now runs the world but too frequently makes the mistake of lofting missiles into the wrong countries.

    Hendrix: Japan. Was the favorite for taking over the world economically, but after a long silence, this seems unlikely.

    Golson: China. Who everyone seems to be betting on to take over, but it doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.

  4. jerseyshorendfan1 - Oct 7, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Dayne Crist = Japan, a powerful economy but had a tsunami wash in from which it’s still trying to recover.

    Tommy Rees = USA, just chugging along thinking all is well, but waiting for the bottom to drop out.

    Andrew Hendrix = Lichtenstein, supposedly beautiful, but you never hear anything about it.

    Everett Golson = Jamaica, so full of talent, they can even field a Bobsledding Team.

  5. ndgoldandblue - Oct 7, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Man, I think you guys have the countries shored up. How about cities for a change of pace?
    Tommy Rees=Leningrad during the Battle for Leningrad, WWII. Mistake after mistake after mistake, yet when things looked the bleakest, they survived the siege and eventually won. Still, it’s not the best example of how to come out on top during a battle.
    Dayne Crist=Constantinople (now Istanbul). The Roman troops, after thwarting the attacks of the Ottoman Empire, lost control of the city after getting scared from a lunar eclipse that the Romans saw as a bad omen. One bad sign and the wheels fell off.
    Andrew Hendrix=Fargo, North Dakota (my hometown). A city that is enjoying a population surge because of an incredibly strong economy and a low crime rate. It’s got everything going for it. So, why don’t more people know about it? Well, it’s getting/has gotten overlooked.
    Everett Golson=Reno, Nevada. The biggest little city in the world. The moniker of the city says it all. Not overly big, but tons of potential. Has done great things in the past, but will it ever surpass Las Vegas (Tony Rice, also from S.C.)? Probably not, but it doesn’t need to in order to be great.

  6. smurphdoggy29 - Oct 7, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    OK ok now THIS was funny !! “As for regular Irish fans? I don’t think there’s any ability to ease their fears. It’ll be white-knuckled panic until the final whistle, and once that happens, most likely a lot of complaints that it wasn’t a truly dominant victory. (*laughs*)

    Aren’t we cute, crazy little puddles of goo, going all schizophrenic all the time WOOHOO

    As for the listing of the QB’s as cities or countries, excellent job, but even I a teacher of History am not about to throw down on that !!

    I will concur though that as long as we limit our own mistakes, take care of business, we’ll be all right Saturday!!

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